Chris Cook pictured above (ignore the psychopathic boss in the background).
Ben Foster's lean, mean, cheating machine Lance Armstrong makes an edgy and unnerving watch in Stephen Frear's dramatisation of Lance Armstrong’s fall from the podium.
There would be no redemption, a film dealing with what is still described as one of the biggest doping scandals in the sporting world paints Armstrong in the role of villain and The Program provides the perfect bad guy. Foster executes the pent up ball of testosterone masterfully. A manipulative and relentless man who (quite literally) has winning in his blood.
Even after being diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 24 the brief moment for which we are are allowed to feel pity is quickly snatched from us and we are thrown deeper still into the greatest professional lie. For both fans and Armstrong himself the sheer sensationalism that surrounded 'le Tour de Lance', a cancer survivor who against impossible odds defied it all, Seven titles at le tour de France, founder of Livestrong and an inspiration to a generation of cyclists and cancer sufferers alike, The Program expertly displays the deception that was hiding beneath the jerseys.
Heralded as the Godfather of Blood Doping, Michelle Ferrari (Guillaume Canet, pictured above), plays an important role as the devil on the shoulder, the Italian physician who facilitated the doping in Armstrong and the rest of the US Postal team. On the other side biting at his heels is Journalist David Walsh (Chris O'Dowd), whose doping expose made up the the skeleton of this film, drives the narrative forward. Criticised at the time by peers for perusing Armstrong so relentlessly got the biggest pay off when Floyd Landis and then eventually Armstrong came clean. The speculation around the time was ripe, but the superstar image that Armstrong had leant to cycling was such a tremendous entity that he was near enough untouchable, by the press and peers alike.
What cannot be denied is how tremendously driven and how merciless Armstrong was.
The Program beautifully highlighting the dizzying euphoria of becoming a champion. In his blinkered vision to become the greatest living cyclist he took incredible risks and amongst such controversy and dishonesty was given his just reward.
Sleek and sharp delivery keeps up the momentum of the climb till the downhill sprint at the end, with a fantastic supporting cast and brilliant execution, this is a film definitely deserving of the Yellow Jersey.
THE PROGRAM will be released in UK cinemas on 16th October.